Placer Mining in BC

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Renewing (Maintaining) Placer Claims in BC

Reporting Work or Paying Cash

I am not an expert on mining law - I am just trying to help. Use the information in this website at your own risk. See the Notice at the bottom of this page.

Table of Contents

The Basics Physical and Technical Work... Physical Work Technical Work And

How It Works

You can renew your claim - move the Good-To Date out a year, also known as "Expiry Date Change" - in two ways... Or... You use the MTO system to Register work or to Pay Cash to the government.

The words Exploration and Development Work mean any work or expense that you can register to renew your claim. It is also called Assessment Work. It doesn't mean any special kinds of work.

The Assessment Work Requirement

The "Assessment Work Requirement" is the amount of work and expenses you have to register to hold your claim for another year - to add a year to the Good-To Date. It is $20 per hectare.

For your claim, it depends on the size. Cells vary in size depending on how far North they are. The following table was made from 1-cell claims as far North as...

Town of Atlin   16.39 ha   x   $20/ha   =   $328 per cell
Prince George   19.05 ha   x   $20/ha   =   $381 per cell
Wells - Cariboo   19.41 ha   x   $20/ha   =   $388 per cell
Lillooet   20.47 ha   x   $20/ha   =   $410 per cell
Princeton   21.00 ha   x   $20/ha   =   $420 per cell

Old "legacy" claims - usually rectangles along a creek - are considered to be 50 hectares for the Assessment Work Requirement: 50 ha x $20/ha = $1000.

Pay to Get a Better Good-To Date

The Good-To Date on your claim might be in the mining season. If it is not at a good time of the year, you can pay Cash In Lieu ("CIL") to move it to a better date.

CIL is twice the Work Requirement, so paying that much will move the Good-To Date out 6 months. Paying that and half that again, will move it out 9 months. You can't move it less than 6 months or more than 12 months by paying CIL.

Pay to Have Your Claim Worked

There are prospectors, placer miners and small mining companies that you can hire to work on your claim. The work can be counted as assessment work to renew your claim and you can get valuable information from the results of the work. Whoever you hire can probably also prepare the work report.

If you are new to placer mining, hiring a miner for a day or two and going along can be a good way to learn from someone with experience. You may also learn how to put together a physical work report.

The advantage of this over paying Cash In Lieu to the government is that, for the same amount of money, you may be able to move the Good-To Date out further and learn more about your claim.

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Registering Work

You Register Work with the MTO system. See the MTO Help Section.

The amount of work and expenses you have to do to hold your claim for another year - the Assessment Work Requirement - is $20 per hectare - about $400 per cell. For an old legacy claim (usually, a rectangle along a creek), it is $1000. See The Assessment Work Requirement

You can register more or less than the Work Requirement and move the Good-To Date out by more or less than a year - days or years - up to ten years from the anniversary date this year.

To register work, you must know:
(short answer: work-types, new Good-To Dates, Total Dollar Amount)

If you have submitted work reports for the claim(s) for the same work program in the past, you want the Event Number for Expiry-Date-change Events (from when you registered the work) for the work program on the claim(s). You can get Event Numbers by doing a MTO Claim Search.

Registering work on your claim must be done by you or your authorized agent.

The work must have been done on your claim, or if your claim is part of a group of your claims that share sides (not just corners), any claim in that group.

If you own a claim with a grid cell that is partially covered by one or more old legacy claims (usually rectangles along a creek), you have to do work or pay cash in lieu for the entire cell. (However, if the old legacy claim expires, your claim expands to include the entire cell.)

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Submitting Work Reports

You can Submit Work Reports with the MTO system. See the MTO Help Section.

See: Information Update No. 14 - Submitting Exploration and Development Work Reports

You don't have to use the MTO system to submit work reports.

The PDF documents of a work report may be...

You can probably do the work report on paper and mail it, although they seem to want PDF files and not want paper.

Work reports on CD ROM or Paper may be mailed to:

      Ministry of Energy and Mines
      300 - 865 Hornby Street
      Vancouver, BC V6Z 2G3

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Paying Cash Instead of Reporting Work

You Pay Cash to renew a claim with the MTO system. See the MTO Help Section.

You can pay cash to move the Good-To Date of your claim out. If you do, you don't have to register and report any work.

It costs about $800 per cell or $2000 for an old legacy claim (usually a rectangle along a creek) to add a year to the Good-To Date.

You can pay as little as half that, and move the Good-To Date out as little as 6 months, or anything in between.

This is double the The_Assessment_Work_Requirement.

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Using the MTO system to Register, Submit or Pay

Logon to MTO from the MTO Page.
You click the top yellow button and then enter your BCeID and password.

Register Work to Change the Good-To Date...
Claim Exploration and Development Work/Expiry Date Change

Submit a Work Report (After Registering Work)...
Claim Exploration and Development Work - Upload Report

Paying Cash Instead of Reporting Work...
Claim Payment Instead of Exploration and Development Work

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Physical Work and Technical Work

See: Information Update No. 25 - Exploration and Development Work.

Most placer mining involves Physical Work - digging and washing gravel to recover gold, reclamation of land disturbed by your work, and a number of other types of work.

Technical Work is work that is usually done by qualified Prospectors or Professional Geologists, Geophysicists, Geochemists, etc.

If you have the knowledge, you can do Technical Work on your own claim. If it is your claim, professional qualifications are not required.

If you have any questions or are not certain about how work should be reported, contact Mineral Titles.

Physical Work

A lot of placer mining is physical work...

See Reporting Physical Work.

Other Types of Physical Work

Ground Control Surveys, Line Cutting and Grids,
Road and Trail Work, and Clearing Land

All these types of work are acceptable physical work if they are a required part of a technical work program.

Clearing Land is also acceptable physical work if it is a required part of a larger physical work program, for which a Notice of Work must have been submitted, and a Reclamation Permit - a Mines Act Permit received. This is presumably for situations like clearing part of a bench which is to be mined.

These kinds of work cannot be submitted as standalone Physical Work.

If you have any questions, particularly if the larger program is physical work, you should contact Mineral Titles.

Precision GPS Surveys

If a survey by a British Columbia Land Surveyor (BCLS) is required on a placer claim, you can claim the cost as physical work. One example is a survey required to turn a claim into a lease.

Drilling

Do not record anything where it says "Drilling" in the physical work report - it is for drilling for blasting.

Drilling must be reported as technical work - Drilling to Collect Samples.

You cannot report drilling for placer mining as physical work.

Prospecting As Physical Work

Prospecting or exploring can only be reported as physical work if enough digging and washing is done to meet Workday and Production Standards. Otherwise, this kind of work must be reported as the technical work of Prospecting.

Sniping, Crevicing and Metal Detectors

Sniping and Crevicing mean searching for nuggets and finer gold trapped in breaks and cracks in bedrock and boulders. Sniping might also include collecting sand/silt/etc. from under boulders and other likely spots. Most sniping is done along creeks and rivers, where gold is trapped when the water is high.

Some people snipe with Metal/Gold Detectors. They search for buried nuggets, or check bedrock cracks for gold.

Using a metal/gold detector and probably other sniping can be reported as the technical work of Prospecting rather than physical work.

Part of sniping is searching. Some sniping involves little or no digging, and all sniping involves washing relatively little material. This can be a problem for getting the work-hours accepted.

To get sniping and/or using a metal detector accepted as physical work, it must be done in a very organized and systematic way. You must record the path you took as you worked.

If you use a metal/gold detector, you may claim an "Equipment" expense in the Report - price up to $500: $2/hr, $1500: $5/hr, etc. It is in the Information Update No. 8 that you have to read. See Reporting Physical Work.

Notifying Land Owners

Before you enter Private Land or Crown Land Leases, you must give notice to the owners.

The work required to determine who owns land or Crown Land Leases, and to give them notice, may be registered as assessment work.

This is (possibly) the only work that can be applied to a claim where the work was done before the claim existed.

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Workday and Production Standards

You are supposed to be properly equipped to do whatever it is that you are doing. You are expected to be working at doing it.

Of course, you can work as slowly and as little as you like. You just adjust hours and days in proportion. If on average, you have worked 4 hours at half-speed - you count it as two hours.

Work Day Standard

You report some costs by the day, like food and lodging. A "day" must include a minimum of 6 hours of work. If you work half that - 3 hours per day - then you only count half as many days. 8 half-days is counted as 4 days.

Hand Panning Standards

From Information Update No. 8:
In good conditions a production rate of 200 pans in a ten hour work period is expected. Production levels may decrease in situations where distance between the pay dirt and the wash area increase, the terrain becomes more severe, the weather more inclement or the ground more difficult. If there are extraordinary situations causing below average production rates please describe the details with your cost statements. For further information, please contact For further information, please contact Mineral Titles.

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Reporting Physical Work

The Physical Work Report - What You Can Include

For the types of Physical Work, see
Physical Work.

Read: Information Update No. 8 -
Guide to the Evaluation of Physical Work for Assessment Purposes

You must read through this thing. You skip parts that don't apply to you. It has details that you need.

A Physical Work Report describes the physical work, with labour and other expenses that you Register to move the Good-To Date out.

Once you know how to fill out the physical work report, you will know how to calculate the expenses that you Register.

The report must be submitted within 30 days after the work is registered.

Getting the Physical Work Report

You can download the Report Of Physical Exploration And Development (PDF).

To download this Report to your computer, you can right-click on the link above and then select "Save Link As..." or "Save Link Target As..." or something similar, depending on your web browser.

It can be filled in and saved with the free version of Adobe Reader (although not on the version for Linux).

The Report can also be downloaded from the Forms page.

Reporting Physical Work - They Want Details!

In addition to hours, labour rates, equipment rentals and such, you must provide details about what was done and how, so that the Mineral Title folks can estimate what your costs should be.

For labour costs, the number of people, what they did and the work periods must be recorded.

Methods and equipment used must be recorded in detail (ex. "digging with hand shovel and pick axe"; sluice box with size; trommel of a specified size, horsepower and age; excavator of a specified make, model and year).

For hole dug, you have to record the GPS coordinates, the dimensions in metres and the size in cubic metres. For each sample from the hole, you record the depth (if appropriate), the size/amount, the amount washed, and the results.

In some cases, you need to record how you moved around to justify the hours - sniping or using a metal detector, for example. In these cases, you must include GPS coordinates as you work, to record your path.

Labour Costs

Labour is generally the big expense on a physical work report - "Physical Work" hours at a cost per hour.

Since at least March 2016, the following labour costs can be used:

Where there is a wage agreement between a mining company and its workers, those wage rates may be used instead of those shown above.

Food/Lodging Costs

Food/Lodging costs can be included - between $50 and $100 per day per worker (depending on whether it is commercial lodging, room and board, or living in the field).

Food purchased while traveling should be counted as a Travel expense.

Travel Expenses

Travel expenses (with receipts) for people and equipment can be included up to a maximum of 20% (50% if by helicopter) of all other work costs. This means that if all assessment work not including Travel expenses adds up to $1000, you cannot claim more than 20% of $1000 = $200 for travel expenses.

Note that travel and food/lodging costs can't be the only costs that are reported for assessment work - they must be part of work in the field that is reported.

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Technical Work

Technical Work is work that is normally done by a qualified Prospector, or a Professional Geologist, Geophysicist, Geochemist, etc. The person that does the Technical Work writes the Technical Work Report.

If you have the knowledge, you can do technical work on your own claim without professional qualifications.

This includes Drilling for Samples where you direct and supervise a drilling contractor. It is your drilling and your technical work. You write the report.

See: Reporting Technical Work.

Technical work that might be done by placer miners includes...

Drilling for Samples

Drilling by placer miners is always technical work - drilling to get samples to test and/or to determine the depth to bedrock.

Drilling can be as small as using a hand-held power-drill with an auger-bit, or it can mean bringing in a drilling contractor. The hand drill is probably testing for bedrock rather than bringing up physical samples.

It would appear that assay results aren't required, which would make sense for placer miners. You should keep the panned out samples, and say in the report that they are in your possession.

Geochemistry

Geochemistry is collecting small samples to send to a lab for assay. Placer miners are generally only interested in gold and sometimes platinum. Samples may be of soil or of sand/silt from the stream, bank or higher up.

Geology supply shops may sell special sealing cups for geochemistry samples. Zipper-close freezer bags (maybe one inside another) should also work fine.

Prospecting

Prospecting is exploring (parts of) a claim. It is work aimed at getting information rather than gold. You may do it to learn and/or to get the Prospecting Report. You learn more about the physical geology, find gravel deposits and search for prospects - possible mining locations worth more testing later (possibly by mining them for the gold).

Prospecting can only be reported in the first three years in which you own a claim.

You take/dig samples of any size, wash them, test them, and record the hole/sample/results.

You look at the regional and local physical geology - valleys, streams, benches, bedrock depth (if known) and outcrops, affects of glaciers and melt-water run-off. You look for deposits of gravel/sand/silt/etc. and where they might be underground.

You do traverses - exploring along lines that you show on a claim map or work-site map. For a placer claim on a creek in a valley, the natural traverses are along the stream, or parallel to it, and across the valley. While doing traverses, you observe conditions, take samples and record locations with their GPS coordinates.

For placer mining, the location of outcrops of bedrock might be important, and is recorded, but the types of rock or sedimentary formations usually isn't.

Prospecting on your own claim is most likely to be accepted as technical work if it is done in a very organized and systematic way.

From Information Update Number 8...

"Activities such as walking around the claim, picking up rocks, planning out or surveying for work sites or roads, and marking the claim boundaries, are not allowable for work credits, and should not be included in physical or technical reports."

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Reporting Technical Work

For the types of Technical Work, see Technical Work.

The Technical Work Report is written by the person that does the work. It must be submitted within 90 days after the technical work is registered.

If you hire a contractor to drill so you (or a worker) can collect samples, it is your technical work and you write the work report.

I believe that you are supposed to use the Assessment Report Title Page and Summary for Technical Work Reports, which is available from the: Forms page.

For what must be included in a Technical Work Report, see Section 16 and for format and more content, see Schedule A of the Mineral Tenure Act Regulation.

See the Assessment Report Regulations Checklist for Technical Reports.

Reporting requirements for different types of technical work...

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Map and Location Requirements

The location of each work site and a description of how to get to there from the nearest town must be reported. You can report distances between intersections where you turn from one road to another, or you can report the coordinates of these intersections from a GPS or from an MTO map.

One or more maps, at least as detailed as 1:10,000 and showing at least one claim boundary corner, must show the location of work sites and the locations of any digging (by hand or machine) was done.

You must record the GPS coordinates of where each hole was dug, sample taken, test made or material taken.

A ground control survey and/or grid lines that were surveyed for a technical work program must be shown on a map at a scale at least as detailed as 1:5,000.

Making the Map(s)

Physical work reports must include a map at a scale of 1:10,000 that shows the work area(s). It always says "or more detailed", but it seems that they really want the work-site-location maps to be at 1 to 10,000.

Work report maps must be submitted as PDF documents - the files end in ".pdf".

You can make maps using the Mineral Titles Online (MTO) mapping system. You can save maps as PDF Documents.

See: Creating a map for your physical work report - Quick Guide (PDF)

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All the Outside Links Again

Mineral Tenure Act Regulation

MTO Help

Claim Exploration and Development Work/Expiry Date Change

Claim Exploration and Development Work - Upload Report

Claim Payment Instead of Exploration and Development Work

Submitting Work Reports

Information Update No. 14 - Submitting Exploration and Development Work Reports

Physical Work and Technical Work

Information Update No. 25 - Exploration and Development Work

Reporting Physical Work

Information Update No. 8 - Guide to the Evaluation of Physical Work for Assessment Purposes

Download the Physical Work Report PDF form...
Report Of Physical Exploration And Development (PDF)

Reporting Technical Work

The Assessment Report Regulations Checklist

Title Page for a Technical Work Report...
Assessment Report Title Page and Summary

Map and Location Requirements

Creating a map for your physical work report - Quick Guide (PDF)


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